Free Roam (Range) Bunnies
One option for living with a house rabbit is have a Free Roam set up with a cage for home base. This is great for those whose rabbits are trustworthy free-roaming the house while their human is away, or for those who are kept in a more secure area until the humans come home and then they get full freedom to play, binky, and lounge around the house like the rest of the family.
Just remember, each family is different. Find the set up that works best for you and your bunny. We have examples below of some set ups our adopters have found to work for them, as well as some things to watch out for when you have a type of free-roam set up for your house rabbit.
Free Roam Living
When your first bring your rabbit (s) home, do not immediately start with a free roam set up. For most rabbits this is far too overwhelming and can lead to health problems like gut stasis due to the stress of being in a new home and not feeling safe and secure. Learn more about how to acclimate your rabbit to their new home by visiting Bringing Home a New Rabbit. This is also the perfect time to Bunny-Proof your home so that it is safe for your rabbit, and your home is protected from chewing mouths and digging claws.
Once you’ve given your rabbit time to settle into their new home, you can begin allowing them to free roam.
Some rabbits are able to free roam a house or part of a house 24/7. The best types of bunnies for free roam homes are those who are very sociable and confident. These rabbits also learn quickly where and what they can dig and chew, versus the carpet or base boards.
Many people don’t feel completely secure enough to have their rabbit free roaming while they’re not home, and we say go with that gut instinct! There is nothing wrong with having your rabbit in a smaller, cage & xpen set up while your gone, and then letting them out to free roam while your home.
Having a free roam rabbit can be a lot of fun, but your household also needs to be very aware at all times where your rabbit is, as an accidental misstep can be deadly. Because companion rabbits behave boldly at times, caretakers may need to be reminded that rabbits are physically fragile.
If young children (6 and below) are in the home, a free roam rabbit is most likely not a good idea until the children are older.
Many rabbits who have the personality for free roam also do well with other species of pets such as cats or dogs. If you have other pets who are laid back and easy going, you may very well be able to have them all live together in harmony. However, it is the adult caretaker’s responsibility to protect the rabbit from handling by small children, and from roughhousing with the other pets in the home. If a house cat is a companion, kitty’s claws should be trimmed (not declawed though). A dog must be trained and supervised before interaction with the rabbit is allowed.Because dogs and cats are still predators instinctively, we always urge people to only have rabbit and other pets together when a human is supervising. If you are not home, separating the dogs/cats from your rabbit is the safest thing for them. Learn more by checking out Rabbits & Other Animals.
What Does Your Rabbit Need To Be Free Roam?
Rabbits who free roam a home still need a home base that can be considered a “safe-place” if they need to get away from everyone for a little while. Normally having a cage with the door open tucked away somewhere is ideal. Rabbits hide in burrows in the wild when they feel scared, so providing your rabbits with a type of “burrow” can help them feel secure. We also say use a cage instead of having their safe spot be under the bed or couch (and you should block those so they can’t get under there) for their safety, as well as if there is an emergency you have the ability to get them into a safe place that they are use to and get them out of the house in that cage if needed.
Most people keep the litter box, water, and hay either in the hidey hole cage or right next to it, it all depends on your individual set up. Wherever you put it, you want to make sure other animals or children can’t reach the hidey hole, as well as drink/dump the water when you’re not looking.
Should Your Rabbit Live Free-Range (Free Roam)?
Every rabbit expert has differing views on free range (roam) rabbits living in the home. HRRN is of the mind that if you prepare, and accept the challenges of living with a free range rabbit, it can be done with good results. But, if you are at all on the fence for the safety of your rabbit free roaming, putting them in a cage and x-pen set up while your gone and letting them out for free range roam while your home is just as good an option.